Tuesday, 26 September 2017

On the Mat Day 891: Imanari Seminar

Me, the only one with hair
This isn't the first time I've met Masakazu Imanari. He was kind enough to let me take a photo with him a few years ago. This time, however, he did a seminar at our club. The reason he came all the way to Nagoya from Tokyo? Well, my instructor and him both received their black belt from Marco Barbosa.

Our dojo is really big for Japan but it felt surprisingly full on the day, also hot and sweaty. I was expecting Imanari to have us doing a lot of running around and physical stuff at the beginning but thankfully he only asked us to do leg pumps to the left and right, sort of like a gymnastica naturale movement. Just to get our hips warmed up.

He showed us the following techniques:
  • Imanari roll from sitting
  • Rolling from side to side while sitting
  • Crouching side on against the opponent and doing Imanari roll
  • Front ankle lock
  • Front ankle lock with both legs controlled and switch to the other side
  • Butterfly guard with kimura grip, invert into 4-11 leglock position

I think there were a few more things he showed in between but it went on for 2 and a half hours so I was a little addled by the end. He gave us lots of time on each technique which I appreciate because I often get lost when shown too many techniques in one sitting.
Everyone who came for leg crippling fun

I noticed that he is really fast at the Imanari Roll as you'd expect and he really elevates high on his shoulder with the leg whipping around to create momentum. The hand behind the knee really pulls hard to topple the opponent. The front ankle lock he showed was a bit sneaky in that it appears to be a straight ankle lock but in fact the foot is extended like a ballerina foot with pressure moving the tip of the toes outwards. To get an effect of this, completely straighten your leg with your toes pointed and slowly make your pinky toe point outwards. Imagine Imanari is grabbing that leg and its locked in place. I think you get the picture how much it would hurt. One other thing was that when doing the straight ankle lock, his legs don't just simply bite down but the inside leg pushes while the outside leg pulls.

He was really cool at the end allowing whoever wanted to spar with him. The timer was set for 2 minute rounds and I think I must have been the 3rd person to roll with him. I have to admit I was a little frightened for my legs but he went easy on me and I tapped really fast. He allowed me to wrap up into a straight leglock and he countered with the Dean Lister toe hold near the crotch area. It hurt a lot and I tried to spin out of it but to no avail. I tapped about 4 times in the space of those 2 minutes but it was really fun to go against somebody of his calibre.

There was talk of him coming again next year. I hope so. I will work on leglocks as much as I can from now. If you ever get the chance, and are interested in leglocks, I recommend Imanari-san's seminar because you just have to feel how strong the technique is from a master.

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